Raphael James reveals the designer of Nigeria’s National Coat of Arms

Raphael James reveals the designer of Nigeria’s National Coat of Arms

Saturday, October 3, 2020 7:00 am

National Coat of Arms


Nigerian archivist and private museum owner, Dr Raphael James, the Director General of the Center For Research, Information and Media Development (CRIMMD) and the CRIMMD Museum of Nigeria History revealed the designer of the Nigerian Coat of Arms as Nigeria marked 60 years of independence on 1 October 2020.

The Nigerian Coat of Arms was designed by Messrs Beverley Pick Associated, London.

Dr. Raphael James

Dr. James had been asking everywhere, including the social media since 2013 who designed the Nigerian Coat of Arms. He said he read tomes and yet could not see a history book that recorded who designed the Nigeria Coat of Arms. “All over goggle and Wikipedia there are wrong information about who designed the Nigeria Coat of Arms, in some places they wrote Mr Taiwo Akinkumi, while in other places they wrote Rev. Dr Hervis L. Bain Jr. Some of the sites even claimed that  it was General David Ejoor. “These pieces of information are wrong,” said Raphael.

Mr Taiwo Akinkumi, he disclosed, only designed the flag. So, he told him when he visited him, that on the other hand Rev. Dr Hervis L. Bain Jr designed the coat of arms of his country, Bahamas in 1975, while the Nigerian Coat of Arms had been in existence since 1960.

James continued:

“ It is also not General David Ejoor for he only designed the then ‘new’ army uniform, the cap, badge and rank insignias according to his autobiography ‘Reminiscences’.

He noted that on October 27th, 1958 Britain (the Colonial Government) agreed that Nigeria would become an independent country on October 1st, 1960. In preparation of Nigeria independence the Governor General of Nigeria Sir James Robertson liaised with the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army, Major General M. L. Forster to get a capable person to head the Independence celebration committee and the baton fell on Colonel E.A. Hefford. An office was set up at number 34/36 Ikoyi Road, Lagos. 

Colonel Hefford made open request for entries for a national anthem, a national flag and a letter was sent to the College of Arms in London requesting for a draft for the Coat of arms.

Colonel E.A. Hefford on February 11, 1960 wrote a letter on behalf of Nigeria to The College of Arms, 130 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4BT, requesting the institution to send a draft for approval of a coat of Arms for the soon to be independent Nigeria.

Messrs Beverley Pick Associated of 118 Charing Cross Road, prepared the draft ‘Coat of Arms’ for the Federation of Nigeria, while preparing it, they obviously took into consideration the Lord Frederic Lugard design of interlaced triangles far back in 1913 in preparation of Amalgamation when he brought in the North and the South together as one with the silver bars in the center of our map.

The draft was approved by the Garter Principal King of Arms of the College of Arms, 130 Queen Victoria Street, London, the draft was approved by the Royal Warrant on May 1960 (Coll. Arms 182.185) and the design was sent over to the Independence Celebration office in Ikoyi before it was sent over to the Sir James Robertson, His Excellency the Governor General of Nigeria who then signed it into law on September 16, 1960 when he admitted the Coat of Arms Ordinance Act Number 48 of 1960, thereby providing Nigeria with a coat of Arms, 14 days to Nigeria independence. 

The first coat of Arms came with the motto ‘Unity and Faith’ but on October 1980 President Shehu Usman Aliyu Kangiwa Shagari (GCFR) recommended among others, a modification in the motto to ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’ (Coll. Arms Addition to Records 4.76).”

As Nigeria marked its 60th independence anniversary, Dr. James is proud of his contribution to Nigeria history, details of his works can be found in his blog https://www.drraphaeljames.com/


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